Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2014 Issue

The Story of the 20th Century via Auction

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Some of the items available in Bonham's Story of the 20th Century Sale

Material from the 20th century is inherently more common than older items. So for a sale to focus solely on the time period, the lots included must be particularly significant and of a high quality. One such sale takes place this month on June 4th. The Story of the 20th Century by Bonhams New York features 188 lots covering history and politics, art and literature, and science and technology. Items rela ting to many of the most significant events and people of those hundred years are available here: the moon landing, the stock market crashes of 1929 and 1987, John Steinbeck, the Wright Brothers, Einstein, and Alan Turing, are but a few of the appearances. With the time period being the unifying theme, there are items of interest for collectors of many different subjects.


History and politics are listed first, comprising twenty-seven lots and makes for one of the smaller sections of the sale. Of note are three lots on African-American history. Lot 1, an archive of African-American photography from the 1950s-80s includes a wide perspective of Black life in Los Angeles during an important time for civil rights and (est. $8,000-12,000). A substantial collection of Black Panther Party newspapers is also being offered at lot 5 (est. $4,000-6,000) while an original pastel, watercolor and ink portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. used for the dust jacket of an illustrated gift book of his “I Have a Dream” speech is available as lot 15 (est. $4,000-6,000). Also present in the history and politics sections are two spools of Dow Jones paper news tape from Friday, October 16 and Monday, October 19, 1987, the second date being the infamous Black Monday (lot 4, est. $3,000-5,000), as well as a signed photograph of Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon (lot 2, est. $4,000-6,000).


Perhaps the two most significant lots of the sale are contained within the section devoted to Russian art and literature. The two items make up an outstanding archive of original artwork and manuscripts by the “Soviet Pirsanesi,” Yakov Chernikhov. Though relatively unknown to Westerners due to the small number of his designs that were built, Chernikhov is viewed as one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. He lived in a time and a place where his grand visions could not be brought into existence, and his greatest impact was through his teaching and influence on contemporaries and successors. The lots comprise unique and unavailable until now material. Lot 28 is estimated $350,000-450,000 while lot 29 is estimated $150,000-250,000.


Many gems are to be found within the Art and Literature portion of the sale. Some of the items that pop include a first edition, first issue of The Wizard of Oz (lot 48, est. $6,000-8,000), multiple items from Robert Frost (lots 61-67), multiple signed works by Theodor “Dr.” Seuss (lots 68-72), an inscribed, privately printed edition of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (lot 81, est. $50,000-70,000), an inscribed first edition of The Grapes of Wrath (lot 91, est. $25,000-35,000), and an original drawing of Superman signed by his two creators (lot 99, est. $20,000-30,000).


The sale concludes with Science and Technology. For collectors of aviation material with deep pockets, this sale cannot be missed. Beginning with Aviation: The Cody Archive (lot 105, est. $150,000-200,000), several significant items are offered. Samuel Cody was an early aviator who experimented with kites before turning his attention to planes and making the first recorded flight over British soil. This archive is a large collection of imagery, as well as journals and diaries kept by Cody related to his kite experiments, blueprints and models of kites, and a large group of his personal files such as flight records, correspondence, patent documents, and other related material. Following the Cody archive are three first editions by the Wright Brothers, the second being Orville Wright’s own copy of Experiments and Observations in Soaring Flight (lot 107, est. $25,000-35,000), and a swatch of fabric from the Kitty Hawk glider accompanied by a presentation note inscribed by Orville Wright (lot 108, est. $7,000-10,000).


Other important works found in the Science and Tech part of the sale are a first printing of Max Planck’s quantum theory (lot 139, est. $20,000-30,000), a presentation copy of the first edition of the identification of the double helix structure of DNA (lot 149, est. $35,000-45,000), and a first edition of Alan Turing’s On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem which is considered to be one of the most important 20th century paper in computer science that directly led to Turing’s creation of a universal computing machine (lot 161, $25,000-35,000).


I opened this article saying that a sale of the 20th century must contain significant and high quality items to succeed. After reviewing these highlights, I hope you are convinced.


Bidding begins at 1pm EDT on June 4, 2014 in person, over the phone, and online. The complete catalogue may be viewed and downloaded online here on Bonham’s website.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Gonnelli:</b> Books & Graphics 26th – 27th – 28th May 2020.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 27th, Travel and exploration.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 27th, Musical books, autographs & printed music.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 26th, A collection of Piranesi’s etchings. € 50 to € 16000.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Books from XV to XX Century.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Hansel and Gretel and other stories by the brothers Grimm illustrated by Kay Nielsen. € 1000.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Artists’ books from Dalì, Marini & others.
  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [SUPREME COURT JUSTICES]. A very extensive collection of 203 letters, documents and signatures. A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES, JOHN JAY THROUGH WILLIAM REHNQUIST. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> ZATTA, Antonio. <i>Atlante Novissimo.</i> Venice: Antonio Zatta, 1775-1785. ONE OF THE FINEST WORLD ATLASES issued in Italy in the 18th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [CHICAGO HISTORY] -- [COLUMBUS, Christopher]. Monumental historiated and embroidered panel of the MADE FOR THE 1893 COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION IN CHICAGO. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [MONASTERY HILL BINDING]. AINSWORTH, William Harrison. <i>Historical Romances.</i> Philadelphia, n.d. A fine early exhibition binding by the Monastery Hill Bindery. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM]. New York: Tiber Press, [1960]. 4 volumes. LIMITED EDITION, number 119 of 200 COPIES, EACH SIGNED BY THE POET AND ARTIST. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> GRATIANUS, the Canonist. <i>Decretum.</i> Venedig: Petrus de Plasiis, 25 January 1483. Second quarto edition. FIRST PAGE ILLUMINATED BY A CONTEMPORARY ARTIST. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [ABOLITIONISTS]. <i>William Lloyd Garrison. The Story of his Life.</i> New York, 1885. ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS FROM SEVERAL NOTABLE ABOLITIONISTS neatly bound in throughout. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> ANSON, George. <i>A Voyage round the World, In the Years 1740... 1744.</i> London: John and Paul Knapton for the author, 1748. FIRST EDITION. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> Blank railroad ledger, "Compagnie des Chemins de fer de l'Ouest" (spine title). N.p., 1909. A MONUMENTAL 20th-CENTURY ART NOUVEAU BINDING. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [MINIATURE ROOM] -- [FLEMING, John (1910-1987)]. Miniature of his 57th Street Library and Gallery. JOHN F. FLEMING'S BARONIAL 57TH STREET GALLERY. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE BINDING]. CHESTERTON, G.K. <i>Five Types: A Book of Essays.</i> London, 1910. LIMITED EDITION, number 3 of 30 copies on vellum SIGNED BY GEORGE SUTCLIFFE. $400 to $500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. <i>When Adam Delved and Eve Span....</i> [Ancoats Brotherhood, 1894-5]. LIMITED EDITION, one of 250 copies printed. $500 to $700.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States, pamphlet, 1862. Sold May 7 for $11,875.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. Sold May 7 for $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> E. Simms Campbell, A Night-Club Map of Harlem, in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. Sold May 7 for $27,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. Sold May 7 for $17,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. Sold May 7 for $5,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> The Black Panther: Black Community News Service, 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. Sold May 7 for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike, silver print, 1968. Sold May 7 for $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> March For Freedom Now!, poster for a protest on the 1960 Republican Convention. Sold May 7 for $17,500.
  • <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
    <center><b>ABAA Virtual Book Fair</b><br>Join your favorite booksellers<br>June 4-7, 2020
  • <b>Koller International Auctions: Books [and] Manuscripts & Autographs. June 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> INCUNABULA -Fridolin, Stephan. <i>Schatzbehalter.</i> With 96 (including 5 repeated) full-page text woodcuts. Nürnberg, 1491.<br>€ 39 470 / 57 020
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Kokoschka, Oskar. <i>Die Träumenden Knaben (The Dreaming Boys).</i> With 11 original lithographs. Vienne, 1908.<br>€ 35 090 / 52 630
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Third Bessarion Master (active in Lombard in the third quarter of the 15th century). Leaf from a gradual, 1455-60.<br>€ 21 930 / 30 700
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Picasso, Pablo - Delgado, José alias Pepe Illo. <i>La Tauromaquia o arte de torear.</i> With 26 original aquatints and 1 original etching by Picasso.<br>€ 21 930 / 35 090
    <b>Koller International Auctions: Books [and] Manuscripts & Autographs. June 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Linschoten, Jan Huygen van. <i>Itinerario, Voyage ofte Schipvaert naer Oost ofte Portugaels Indien…</i> Amsterdam, 1595.<br>€ 17 540 / 26 320
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> CHILDREN’S BOOKS - Meggendorfer, Lothar. <i>Nah und Fern. Ein Tierbilderbuch zum Ziehen.</i> With 8 coloured, lithographed plates.<br>€ 530 / 790
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> DANSE MACABRE - Bille, Edmond. <i>Une Danse macabre.</i> With 20 coloured woodcuts. Lausanne, 1919. Large folio.<br>€ 610 / 880
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Dexel, Walter. A collection of 7 invitation cards from the Kunstverein Jena, each typographically designed by W. Dexel. Jena, 1924-1928. Each 10.5 x 14.8 cm.<br>€ 530 / 790

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